Bangladesh didn't compromise on quality of Padma Bridge: Hasina


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said the government did not make any compromise on the quality of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge.

The mega structure, built with the country's own funds, is set to open on Jun 25 and the prime minister expressed her gratitude to the people for their unyielding faith and support for the project. In a media briefing on Wednesday, Hasina highlighted the challenges faced by the government in building the bridge ahead of the momentous occasion. After initially agreeing to co-finance the project, the World Bank cancelled a $1.2 billion credit in June 2012 after raising complaints of corruption over the appointment of consultants for Bangladesh's longest bridge. The move threw the fate of the project into doubt but a month later, Hasina announced that the project would be completed with the country's own resources. From the very outset, various quarters from within the country had tried to undermine the initiative, particularly a "certain MD of a bank", Hasina said.

"There were a few people from our country [who sought to undermine the project], especially one person who doesn't have an iota of patriotism. I didn't know they were capable of doing such a thing. I was shocked to see that the post of MD in a bank could be so important."

"Some people wanted to exert their influence but we didn't allow that. They wanted us to authorise an incompetent contractor but we didn't agree."

The World Bank later filed a case against Bangladesh in a Canadian court but failed to prove the allegations of corruption.

"The Canadian court made it clear that the allegations were false and fabricated," said Hasina.

But it was ultimately the courage of the people that enabled the 'dream bridge', which will connect the country's heartland to 21 southwestern districts, to materialise, according to the prime minister.

"The unprecedented support I received from the people gave me courage and strength. The people stood by me. The Padma Bridge stands tall today because of their courage.”